Ankara concerned over Armenian radicals using hate speech to incite violent acts against Türkiye and Azerbaijan
Following an incident of physical and verbal harassment in the US, Türkiye on Saturday raised concerns over radical diaspora groups using hate speech to incite violent actions against Türkiye, Azerbaijan, the Armenian government, and regional peace, News.Az reports citing Anadolu Agency.
“It is worrying that the hate language of radical diaspora groups, which target our country and Azerbaijan, and more recently the Armenian government and the peace process in the region, has turned into violent acts. We will initiate the necessary legal process against those who physically attack our delegation,” said a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement.
The ministry statement came after Turkish and Azerbaijani officials on Friday were verbally and physically harassed by radical Armenian groups at a conference at the University of Southern California in the US before they were removed by the Los Angeles Police Department.
Throughout the conference, protesters gathered outside and tried to disrupt the normal flow of the program by making noise, and later physically and verbally attacked Turkish officials and a TV production executive outside the venue.
The incident demonstrated that “distortion of historical events with narrow and local political motives and statements made to please extremist groups encourage radicalization, hate speech and violence,” the statement said.
Türkiye's Justice and Development (AK) Party spokesman Omer Celik also said on X: "We strongly condemn the aggressive attempts by provocative Armenian groups aimed at a program organized by our Yunus Emre Institute in Los Angeles, where our (Turkish) Ambassador to Washington, Murat Mercan, was also a participant. The aggressive web of lies cannot prevent the truth from being heard.
“The incident that occurred is not only ugly interference with freedom of thought and expression but also shows that these groups have no ability to express themselves other than aggression,” Celik said.
“In response to all kinds of provocations, we will continue to defend Azerbaijan's territorial integrity and maintain peace and stability in the Caucasus," he added.
On Friday, Turkish officials attended a conference on Türkiye’s public diplomacy, co-hosted by the Yunus Emre Institute – which promotes Turkish culture and language abroad – and the Annenberg School of Journalism at the University of Southern California.
A group of Armenian students began protesting when Turkish Ambassador to Washington Hasan Murat Mercan started speaking. Another protester verbally abused Ramil Gurbanov, Azerbaijan's consul general in Los Angeles.
The group's 10-minute protest was put to an end by security and police, who removed the group from the venue.